8 reasons why walking is your guilt-free ticket to an active life
We all know we should be more active, but over and over again physical activity drops down our list of priorities. Between work, family, errands—we have trouble fitting it all into our busy schedules. And the guilt! A guilty conscience is never far away if we choose to skip an exercise class for an episode of our favourite Netflix show, or drive to the grocery store when it’s just around the corner.
But there’s an easy solution. Active transportation is much more doable than you might think, and it’s the perfect alternative for those of us with busy schedules.
Walking or wheeling offers head-to-toe benefits that balance our minds and strengthens our bodies. Need proof? No prob.
Read on for our eight great reasons to walk:
- It’s better exercise than you might think. A major study comparing the health impact of brisk walking with running found that walkers benefited as much as runners from a reduced risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease.
- Good for body and mind. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. In older people, staying active can improve cognitive function, memory, attention and processing speed, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
- Mother Nature appreciates it. Motorized vehicles emit toxic substances that harm our environment, our families and ourselves. By choosing active transportation, we’re doing our bit for Mother Nature’s health– and and our own.
- It’s free! All we need is a pair of running or walking shoes (no helmets, padding, sticks, brooms, balls, nets…) And we can walk just about anywhere for no cost: streets, parks, public tracks and trails and beaches, shopping malls.
- No road rage when you’re a walker. Studies have proven that walking releases endorphins, which stimulate relaxation – and the more endorphins, the calmer we feel. Too bad we can’t figure out a way to do this for drivers who see red on the road.
- Turn the volume down on noise pollution. Road traffic noise is a major contributor to high noise levels. Over time, it can affect our hearing and sleep. Walking instead of driving helps reduce noise levels.
- Doesn’t require special training or skill. Many of us learn to walk around 12 months of age. After that, we’re pretty much experts!
- For kids: role modelling, habit-forming. Our patterns of mobility have a domino effect on our children: They see us walking to the convenience store around the corner instead of driving, and odds are they will, too. Walking from Point A to Point B also increases exposure to natural vitamin D from sunlight, which helps the body absorb calcium, an important mineral for bone growth, muscle development and nerve functioning.
Here’s your challenge: The next time you find yourself fishing for your car keys in your purse or pocket – stop! And ask yourself: Is my destination walkable? If it is, swap the keys for a pair of sneakers, and sneak some physical activity into your day. It’s the perfect exercise, after all.
And if motivating yourself is a problem, we’ve got just the thing. Download our Motivation Tracker for suggestions to make an active commute a part of your daily life. Track how it makes you feel, and you might learn to love it.